Top fundraiser testifies she delivered kickbacks to Kilpatrick

Top fundraiser testifies she delivered kickbacks to Kilpatrick

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DETROIT -- A custom made barber chair was the centerpiece of a private office on the eleventh floor of Detroit city hall where prosecutors say Kwame Kilpatrick received kickbacks from his chief fundraiser, Emma Bell.

Bell is a long time friend of the Kilpatrick family, who said she met the future mayor when they both went to the Shrine of the Black Madonna.

On Thursday, she was the government's star witness against Kilpatrick.

It was in the mayor's office that Bell said she gave Kilpatrick thousands of dollars that she smuggled in inside her bra.

Prosecutor Michael Bullotta asked Bell, "How much did you deliver in total to Kilpatrick?"

Bell answered, "I don't know the exact amount, sir, but I know it was more than a hundred and I know it was more than two."

The feds estimate Bell gave Kilpatrick hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Kilpatrick attorney Jim Thomas tried undermining Bell's credibility by highlighting her addiction to the slots at Greektown Casino.  He also accused her of telling prosecutors what they want to hear as part of a plea deal she cut on her own tax evasion case.

Bell countered that lying on the witness stand would only make things worse for her, and said, "There's only two people in this room other than God who know what happened in that room and that's Mr. Kilpatrick and myself."

Afterward, Bernard Kilpatrick indicated that they won't be exchanging Christmas cards this year.

"Would you still consider her a family friend?" I asked him.

"What a question," Kilpatrick responded.

"Maybe more of an acquaintance now?" I further asked.

"Well, that M.L. is something else," he commented.

Bernard Kilpatrick has managed to maintain his sense of humor throughout this ordeal, but his son sat stone faced as Bell testified.

Of course, the real test of how much damage Bell did to the man she says she holds in such high regard won't be known for months when the jury returns its verdict.

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